AFP: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the mothers of three young US nationals detained without charge in Iran for 12 months renewed appeals Friday for the trio’s release.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the mothers of three young US nationals detained without charge in Iran for 12 months renewed appeals Friday for the trio’s release.
“We call on Iran to do the right thing and allow these three Americans to return home to their families,” Clinton said in a statement read out by the State Department spokesman.
Saturday marks the first anniversary of the arrests of Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, by Iranian authorities near the Iraq border during what the trio said was a hiking holiday in the Kurdish mountains of northern Iraq.
In New York, about 50 people, including the trio’s mothers, demonstrated outside the Iranian mission to the United Nations carrying placards that said “Shame on you Iran” and “One year is enough — let them go.”
“I have an innocent child with two innocent friends languishing in prison. It’s time for them to come home,” said Laura Fattal, mother of Josh.
Fattal said that after 12 months “the mental and psychological stress on my child and their two friends is terrible.”
Cindy Hickey, mother of Shane Bauer, denounced the “political” and “unjust” detention, while Nora Shourd, mother of Sarah, said: “We want to bring them home.”
Shourd said the fact the three had not been able to see their lawyer was “an outrage also from a legal point of view.”
Amnesty International urged the US citizens’ release, with the rights group’s Middle East director Malcolm Smart saying it appeared “clear that the Iranian authorities do not have substantial grounds to prosecute these three individuals.
“We fear that they may be held on account of their nationality,” he said. “If so, they should be released immediately and allowed to leave Iran.”
Amnesty said that otherwise the three young Americans should be “charged with recognizably criminal offences and be tried according to international standards for a fair trial.”
Iranian officials have alleged that the three planned to carry out “acts of espionage” in the Islamic republic, prompting denials from the US government and their families.
In the US Senate, meanwhile, lawmakers introduced a symbolic resolution marking one year since the hikers were detained and calling on Iran to “immediately and unconditionally release” them on humanitarian grounds.